Do You Really Need Pet Health Insurance?
Vets today can do so much more for your pets than they could even a few short years ago. There are many conditions that used to be a death sentence for dogs, which are now treatable as a chronic illness.
Treating an older or chronically ill dog is not for the faint of heart though, and I am not talking about the illness. I am talking about the vet bill!
As a result of our vet’s increased ability to offer procedures like MRI tests, radiation treatments and even transplants vet costs have almost doubled in the last five years. So as you sit by the fire watching your sleeping dog age by the minute, it begs the question, “Do I need to get health insurance for my pet?”
The short answer is, “It depends”, and unfortunately there is no easy solution. Since the level of vet care that a dog receives is directly related to his owner’s finances and feelings, care levels are all over the map.
Some dogs get regular checkups, vaccines and dental exams. Others get nothing until they are injured, and then they get caught up on all of their shots. And still others do not even get that. So depending on the commitment to your pets’ care that you are willing to make, pet health insurance may or may not make sense for you.
Due to the rising costs and abilities of veterinarians, pet health insurance is becoming more popular with each passing year. The insurance policies are very similar to human insurance policies with annual or monthly premiums, deductibles, co-pays, caps and coverage to suit any need.
Pet insurance policies can be very different from company to company, so if you are considering covering your pet read the fine print carefully. Generally the more coverage you get the higher the premium, so take care to match the policy with your vet visit needs. However, as your dog gets older you may suddenly find yourself strangely interested in prescription coverage for your dog and unable to find a suitable policy.
Another pet insurance option that is becoming more commonly offered is by the vets themselves. They frequently offer bundled rates for regular routine exams and discounts for anything from routine teeth cleanings to prescriptions.
When it comes to a sick or aging dog sometimes nature makes the decision for you, and while it is tragic, in a way it is easy. When the decision is left to you, it is rarely easy to determine when enough is enough. Frequently your pocketbook makes the decision for you, and that is why it is a good idea to know what you plan to do and what your tolerance points are well before you find yourself in the situation of having to make life and death decisions.
If you know that you will mortgage the house to make sure that your dog gets the latest procedure available and the best care possible, then pet health insurance may be for you. If you know that you will not opt for any heroic measures when the eleventh hour arrives, then pet insurance is probably not going to be a good option for you. So take a minute to think about the unthinkable. Then you can plan according to whatever makes sense for your particular situation, and when the day comes that you need to make a hard choice you will already have a good idea of what you need to do.
For more information on pet health insurance, visit the ASPCA.